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(io9)   Research shows that as whales and dolphins evolved, their taste buds degenerated, and they have lost the ability to taste sweet, savory, bitter, and sour, retaining only the ability to taste "salty". Which, given where they live, must suck for them   (observationdeck.io9.com) divider line 47
    More: Interesting, baleen whales, carbonations, mammals, invertebrates, pandas, insects, amphibians, whales  
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1716 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Jun 2014 at 1:10 PM (7 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-06-02 12:01:01 PM
Here's what I'm curious about:

Do whales and dolphins retain the ability to taste spiciness (i.e. capsaicin)? Capsaicin evolved in land plants as a defense mechanism against land animals and some birds because it is extremely irritating if eaten or chewed. Most sea animals aren't bothered by it because there is essentially no capsaicin in sea plants. I wonder, in the time it took the early cetecean ancestors to return to the sea, whether they've also lost the ability to be irritated by capsaicin? If they retained it, that'd be a very interesting evolutionary vestigial sense.
 
2014-06-02 12:09:52 PM

RexTalionis: Here's what I'm curious about:

Do whales and dolphins retain the ability to taste spiciness (i.e. capsaicin)? Capsaicin evolved in land plants as a defense mechanism against land animals and some birds because it is extremely irritating if eaten or chewed. Most sea animals aren't bothered by it because there is essentially no capsaicin in sea plants. I wonder, in the time it took the early cetecean ancestors to return to the sea, whether they've also lost the ability to be irritated by capsaicin? If they retained it, that'd be a very interesting evolutionary vestigial sense.


I'd be fascinated by the answer to as I use whales a lot when arguing with people that don;t believe in evolution.  In fact when my kid's youth group pastor started spouting that creationist ,crap and my son started debating him, I printed out a picture of a what skeleton and asked him to have the pastor explain why whales have leg bones  but no legs.

The Pastor doesn't like me much anymore, but then I don;t like him using his moral authority to make scientific illiterates out of impressionable kids, so the feeling is mutual
 
2014-06-02 12:09:58 PM
Given where they live, I'm willing to bet they can taste the difference in seawater salinity to the point of using it to seek out prey that prefer certain salinity levels.  Also, probably to navigate and to know where predators are.
 
2014-06-02 12:11:16 PM

Magorn: I printed out a picture of a what skeleton and asked him to have the pastor explain why whales have leg bones but no legs.


Because God wills it.
 
2014-06-02 12:11:46 PM

Magorn: RexTalionis: Here's what I'm curious about:

Do whales and dolphins retain the ability to taste spiciness (i.e. capsaicin)? Capsaicin evolved in land plants as a defense mechanism against land animals and some birds because it is extremely irritating if eaten or chewed. Most sea animals aren't bothered by it because there is essentially no capsaicin in sea plants. I wonder, in the time it took the early cetecean ancestors to return to the sea, whether they've also lost the ability to be irritated by capsaicin? If they retained it, that'd be a very interesting evolutionary vestigial sense.

I'd be fascinated by the answer to as I use whales a lot when arguing with people that don;t believe in evolution.  In fact when my kid's youth group pastor started spouting that creationist ,crap and my son started debating him, I printed out a picture of a what skeleton and asked him to have the pastor explain why whales have leg bones  but no legs.

The Pastor doesn't like me much anymore, but then I don;t like him using his moral authority to make scientific illiterates out of impressionable kids, so the feeling is mutual


If you like science and don't want your kids hearing anti-science, why do you send them to church?  That's like saying you're pissed off that a Republican convention included an anti-choice speech.
 
2014-06-02 12:16:08 PM

Benevolent Misanthrope: If you like science and don't want your kids hearing anti-science, why do you send them to church? That's like saying you're pissed off that a Republican convention included an anti-choice speech.


Half the kids in my own church youth group were confirmed atheists, and this was back in the 70's.  It was more for socializing than Jesusing.
 
2014-06-02 12:23:18 PM

Benevolent Misanthrope: Magorn: RexTalionis: Here's what I'm curious about:

Do whales and dolphins retain the ability to taste spiciness (i.e. capsaicin)? Capsaicin evolved in land plants as a defense mechanism against land animals and some birds because it is extremely irritating if eaten or chewed. Most sea animals aren't bothered by it because there is essentially no capsaicin in sea plants. I wonder, in the time it took the early cetecean ancestors to return to the sea, whether they've also lost the ability to be irritated by capsaicin? If they retained it, that'd be a very interesting evolutionary vestigial sense.

I'd be fascinated by the answer to as I use whales a lot when arguing with people that don;t believe in evolution.  In fact when my kid's youth group pastor started spouting that creationist ,crap and my son started debating him, I printed out a picture of a what skeleton and asked him to have the pastor explain why whales have leg bones  but no legs.

The Pastor doesn't like me much anymore, but then I don;t like him using his moral authority to make scientific illiterates out of impressionable kids, so the feeling is mutual

If you like science and don't want your kids hearing anti-science, why do you send them to church?  That's like saying you're pissed off that a Republican convention included an anti-choice speech.


Because, A) this church only recently started turning into this anti-science crap, mostly from this one guy who is new hire,  and having a few peer groups for my son to socialize with is not a bad thing.  And B) when churches  steer clear of the culture war crap, there are some basic values they instill that I very much approve of.  I was raised RC, and taught by Jesuits so I have little patience for anyone, on either side  who thinks science and religion are incompatible.

Science cannot disprove the existence of god (inasmuch as he is generally consider to exist outside of space time and the bounds of the observable universe, there is no way to experimentally or me thematically reach any conclusion as to his existence), And religion has any business opining on the truth or falsity of science.
 
2014-06-02 12:24:07 PM

Marcus Aurelius: Benevolent Misanthrope: If you like science and don't want your kids hearing anti-science, why do you send them to church? That's like saying you're pissed off that a Republican convention included an anti-choice speech.

Half the kids in my own church youth group were confirmed atheists, and this was back in the 70's.  It was more for socializing than Jesusing.


Hm.  Well, OK.  Still don't know why you were surprised that a preacher would preach at church.  Next thing you know, someone will be upset their kid's scout troop learned to tie knots, their kid's swim club got their kid wet, their kid's little league team taught them to be competitive...
 
2014-06-02 12:26:18 PM
Oops.  Lost track of who I was talking to.

I see your point,  Magorn, but not why you would be surprised by this.  As per my comment above.
 
2014-06-02 12:33:16 PM

Magorn: I'd be fascinated by the answer to as I use whales a lot when arguing with people that don;t believe in evolution.


I can't find any specific information about the answer, but I'd suspect that it would irritate whales and dolphins since it seems capsaicins act along the mammalian  transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1 which, I think, would still be present in whales and dolphins.
 
2014-06-02 12:39:58 PM
BTW, here's a cool one for you, Magorn:

www.cavinguk.co.uk
Snakes have vestigial remnants of legs in their skeletons. They're referred to as spurs.

matthew2262.files.wordpress.com

wolvesonceroamed.files.wordpress.com
 
2014-06-02 12:59:36 PM

Marcus Aurelius: Benevolent Misanthrope: If you like science and don't want your kids hearing anti-science, why do you send them to church? That's like saying you're pissed off that a Republican convention included an anti-choice speech.

Half the kids in my own church youth group were confirmed atheists, and this was back in the 70's.  It was more for socializing than Jesusing.


The problem with some churches is that no matter how social they may be, you are still going to get Jesused long and hard.
 
2014-06-02 01:02:22 PM

RexTalionis: BTW, here's a cool one for you, Magorn:

[www.cavinguk.co.uk image 850x566]
Snakes have vestigial remnants of legs in their skeletons. They're referred to as spurs.

[matthew2262.files.wordpress.com image 598x396]

[wolvesonceroamed.files.wordpress.com image 320x248]


Cool thank you.    I leared something new on fark today.   always a good thing.


Benevolent Misanthrope: Oops.  Lost track of who I was talking to.

I see your point,  Magorn, but not why you would be surprised by this.  As per my comment above.


 believe it or not, the whole " Evolution is a lie" thing despite all the press it gets   was, at least when I grew up as much a fringe belief in the Christianity  as  snake handling is.  So I am taken aback when I actually see it in the wild and do what I can to keep it from taking root.  Then again apparently Calvinism, of all things is staging a big comeback in evangelical circles too,  so a lot of weird going on these days
 
2014-06-02 01:02:55 PM

dittybopper: Marcus Aurelius: Benevolent Misanthrope: If you like science and don't want your kids hearing anti-science, why do you send them to church? That's like saying you're pissed off that a Republican convention included an anti-choice speech.

Half the kids in my own church youth group were confirmed atheists, and this was back in the 70's.  It was more for socializing than Jesusing.

The problem with some churches is that no matter how social they may be, you are still going to get Jesused long and hard.


Because that's the point of the socializing.  To get people in the door, gain their trust, and then indoctrinate them.  Desperate people are especially desirable, since you don't have to work to hard to gain their trust.

Duh.
 
2014-06-02 01:14:40 PM

Magorn: Then again apparently Calvinism, of all things is staging a big comeback in evangelical circles too,  so a lot of weird going on these days


Yeah - that's a disturbing trend, part of the whole Prosperity Gospel thing.  My opinion (pulled straight from my ass, with no research to back me that I've read) is that belief is going further and further afield to gain the trust of the desperate in order to fleece them as usual (which is the point, at the end of the day).  People want to hear that their imaginary friend is the biggest, besets imaginary friend out there and he loves  them.  They want to hear that there's hope - in this life.  The next one is too far off for the modern brain.  As Pratchett put it - "It's the  hope that's important. Big part of belief, hope. Give people jam today and they'll just sit and eat it. Jam tomorrow, now-that'll keep them going forever."  But not jam next year, that's too long for people to wait these days.  So we get the whole prosperity gospel thing, Calvinism, the time-honoured tradition of making your target group feel special, unjustly persecuted and on the cusp of happiness... if they will only uphold their loyalty to the [Party, Church, Leader... insert your own here].

So, we shall see.  The farther out there religions go to gain followers, the more ridiculous promises they make that never come true, the more they blame people's lack of faith for that, the sooner the general populace will begin to see that it's about money and power, and hopefully get rid of the idea altogether.

I'm not against someone holding their own beliefs, as long as they don't expect to make laws for the rest of us based on them.  Religion, though, is an evil influence on society and has been the root of immense grief and trouble throughout human history. Better to be done with it, IMHO.
 
2014-06-02 01:15:54 PM

Magorn: believe it or not, the whole " Evolution is a lie" thing despite all the press it gets   was, at least when I grew up as much a fringe belief in the Christianity  as  snake handling is


Same here. I refused to believe there were people who didn't believe in evolution until I met one myself
 
2014-06-02 01:16:19 PM
You can get an idea of a whale's life by a diet heavy in these:

i.huffpost.com
 
2014-06-02 01:18:34 PM

Benevolent Misanthrope: Because that's the point of the socializing. To get people in the door, gain their trust, and then indoctrinate them. Desperate people are especially desirable, since you don't have to work to hard to gain their trust.


Wasn't this essentially the B plot for the entire second season of The Americans?
 
2014-06-02 01:19:26 PM

RexTalionis: Magorn: I printed out a picture of a what skeleton and asked him to have the pastor explain why whales have leg bones but no legs.

Because God wills it.


More evidence that god is really just a cosmic prankster.
 
2014-06-02 01:22:10 PM
If the whales would stop smoking and drinking they would get their taste buds back.
 
2014-06-02 01:25:51 PM
really?  a Salty headline, 20 comments.. and no mom jokes?  Where am I?!?
 
2014-06-02 01:26:26 PM

Magorn: RexTalionis: Here's what I'm curious about:

Do whales and dolphins retain the ability to taste spiciness (i.e. capsaicin)? Capsaicin evolved in land plants as a defense mechanism against land animals and some birds because it is extremely irritating if eaten or chewed. Most sea animals aren't bothered by it because there is essentially no capsaicin in sea plants. I wonder, in the time it took the early cetecean ancestors to return to the sea, whether they've also lost the ability to be irritated by capsaicin? If they retained it, that'd be a very interesting evolutionary vestigial sense.

I'd be fascinated by the answer to as I use whales a lot when arguing with people that don;t believe in evolution.  In fact when my kid's youth group pastor started spouting that creationist ,crap and my son started debating him, I printed out a picture of a what skeleton and asked him to have the pastor explain why whales have leg bones  but no legs.

The Pastor doesn't like me much anymore, but then I don;t like him using his moral authority to make scientific illiterates out of impressionable kids, so the feeling is mutual


So you took your kid to church and were shocked that they preached creationism. You're more retarded than the damn pastor.
 
2014-06-02 01:27:32 PM

Magorn: believe it or not, the whole " Evolution is a lie" thing despite all the press it gets was, at least when I grew up as much a fringe belief in the Christianity as snake handling is. So I am taken aback when I actually see it in the wild and do what I can to keep it from taking root.



The Right can't afford for science to be right about anything more important than making nacho cheese Doritos even nacho cheesier. There is too much at stake.

I was watching Fox News the other day (because I hate my brain and I want it to suffer), and the topic of climate change came up and the guy literally said "These scientists are the same people who believed blood letting would cure anything. Can we really trust these guys?"
 
2014-06-02 01:27:46 PM

Marcus Aurelius: Half the kids in my own church youth group were confirmed atheists, and this was back in the 70's. It was more for socializing than Jesusing.


So it's sorta social. Demented and sad, but social.
 
2014-06-02 01:28:52 PM

Benevolent Misanthrope: My opinion (pulled straight from my ass, with no research to back me that I've read)


farkied
 
2014-06-02 01:32:53 PM

Magorn: Science cannot disprove the existence of god (inasmuch as he is generally consider to exist outside of space time and the bounds of the observable universe, the ...


so he's The Doctor?
 
2014-06-02 01:35:32 PM

KatjaMouse: Benevolent Misanthrope: Because that's the point of the socializing. To get people in the door, gain their trust, and then indoctrinate them. Desperate people are especially desirable, since you don't have to work to hard to gain their trust.

Wasn't this essentially the B plot for the entire second season of The Americans?


The Americans had a second season?
 
2014-06-02 01:35:45 PM

RexTalionis: Here's what I'm curious about:

Do whales and dolphins retain the ability to taste spiciness (i.e. capsaicin)? Capsaicin evolved in land plants as a defense mechanism against land animals and some birds because it is extremely irritating if eaten or chewed. Most sea animals aren't bothered by it because there is essentially no capsaicin in sea plants. I wonder, in the time it took the early cetecean ancestors to return to the sea, whether they've also lost the ability to be irritated by capsaicin? If they retained it, that'd be a very interesting evolutionary vestigial sense.


Spiciness is not a taste, it is a physical sensation.  It is a burning feeling you get when the capsaicin comes in contact with sensitive tissues.

People tend to call any sensation they have when they're eating "taste", despite most of them coming from other senses.  The distinctiveness of lemon and cherry flavors are actually coming from the smell, not the taste.  You're only tasting some combination of sweet and sour.
 
2014-06-02 01:37:20 PM
Because swimming in beer would suck?  I don't think so Subby.
 
2014-06-02 01:39:37 PM

AngryDragon: RexTalionis: Magorn: I printed out a picture of a what skeleton and asked him to have the pastor explain why whales have leg bones but no legs.

Because God wills it.

More evidence that god is really just a cosmic prankster.


if a person that engages in Gluttony is a glutton, then, as Spider Robinson once pointed out: God is an Iron, because he is AWFULLY fond of cosmic Irony
 
2014-06-02 01:42:05 PM
Actually, I can see an evolutionary reason for them retaining the abilty to taste salt:  there are areas of the
sea where the salinity can vary greatly (estuaries, etc) and so they would need to know to avoid areas of
low salinity (yes, there are species of dolphins that live in rivers, but AFAIR most all cetaceans need salt
water to keep their skin whole).

/Sorry to interrupt your regularly scheduled anti-evolution WHARRGBLLL fest
 
2014-06-02 01:58:24 PM

Russ1642: Magorn: RexTalionis: Here's what I'm curious about:

Do whales and dolphins retain the ability to taste spiciness (i.e. capsaicin)? Capsaicin evolved in land plants as a defense mechanism against land animals and some birds because it is extremely irritating if eaten or chewed. Most sea animals aren't bothered by it because there is essentially no capsaicin in sea plants. I wonder, in the time it took the early cetecean ancestors to return to the sea, whether they've also lost the ability to be irritated by capsaicin? If they retained it, that'd be a very interesting evolutionary vestigial sense.

I'd be fascinated by the answer to as I use whales a lot when arguing with people that don;t believe in evolution.  In fact when my kid's youth group pastor started spouting that creationist ,crap and my son started debating him, I printed out a picture of a what skeleton and asked him to have the pastor explain why whales have leg bones  but no legs.

The Pastor doesn't like me much anymore, but then I don;t like him using his moral authority to make scientific illiterates out of impressionable kids, so the feeling is mutual

So you took your kid to church and were shocked that they preached creationism. You're more retarded than the damn pastor.


I've been to a lot of churches and none of them have preached creationism. The last one I went to managed to work gravitational lensing, of all things, into the sermon.
 
2014-06-02 01:59:11 PM
I would imagine that whales have a very acute sense of taste.

It's good to know if the water you're swimming in is contaminated or clean, the species and quality of the prey you are eating.

Yummy krill
Yummy krill
Yummy krill
Crunchy and odd-tasting human + neoprene + aluminum tanks? BLEH!! (spits out the pieces and swims to a different spot)
Yummy krill
Yummy krill
Yummy krill
Yummy krill
...
 
2014-06-02 02:00:36 PM

Benevolent Misanthrope: KatjaMouse: Benevolent Misanthrope: Because that's the point of the socializing. To get people in the door, gain their trust, and then indoctrinate them. Desperate people are especially desirable, since you don't have to work to hard to gain their trust.

Wasn't this essentially the B plot for the entire second season of The Americans?

The Americans had a second season?


Yes and apparently there are plans for a 3rd.
 
2014-06-02 02:07:31 PM

Go Fornicate Without a Partner: really?  a Salty headline, 20 comments.. and no mom jokes?  Where am I?!?


Its devolved into a religion v. evolution thread, with a side of indoctrination thrown in.  Sorry, you will have to be quicker next time. But their was salty and suck in the headline, so it had that going for it.
 
2014-06-02 02:08:43 PM
there's an endangered pink dolphin that lives in one of the fresh water rivers in China.
 
2014-06-02 02:13:24 PM
I got your pink dolphin right here.
 
2014-06-02 02:14:17 PM

RexTalionis: Magorn: I printed out a picture of a what skeleton and asked him to have the pastor explain why whales have leg bones but no legs.

Because God wills it.


tacticalentertainment.tv
 
2014-06-02 02:15:19 PM
Derek & Clive:  Whales are farking stupid. (NSFW language)
 
2014-06-02 02:18:56 PM
Stop tasting what I don't taste!
 
2014-06-02 02:59:15 PM
But can they taste cilantro? Because that sht is gross.
 
2014-06-02 03:00:11 PM
Charles V (Hapsburg Emperor of Spain) sometimes used to say: if it was necessary to talk with God, that he  would talk in Spanish, which language suggests itself for the graveness and majesty of the Spaniards; if with friends, in Italian, for the dialect of the Italians was one of familiarity; if to caress someone, in French, for no language is tenderer than theirs; if to threaten someone or to speak harshly to them, in German, for their entire language is threatening, rough and vehement".

upload.wikimedia.org


A mes chats, je parle l'Hébreu, parce que c'est la langue des dieux, et parce que c'est

 impossiblede les faire comprendre quoi que ce soit sans un argument

fort ergoteur, et s'ils ne veulent rien comprendre,

c'est de beaucoup de soins perdus.

*Charles V was the son of Juana la loca, AKA Joanna the Mad.

He is the father-in-law of my 4th cousin, 14 times removed, at the moment at least.

Charles V must have said something about comparative linguistics but the exact quotation seems to be lost because there are many variants. One of these is quoted by the second Captain on Sealab 2021:  "Je parle Espagnol à Dieu, Italien aux dames du Court, Français aux hommes, Allemand à mon cheval."He would not have spoken German to his horse because he thought it was a harsh, threatening language. One speaks gently and affectionaty to one's horse. German is for giving orders to soldiers and other hard of understanding underlings.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Charles_V,_Holy_Roman_Emperor

 
2014-06-02 03:34:25 PM

brantgoose: Charles V (Hapsburg Emperor of Spain) sometimes used to say: if it was necessary to talk with God, that he  would talk in Spanish, which language suggests itself for the graveness and majesty of the Spaniards; if with friends, in Italian, for the dialect of the Italians was one of familiarity; if to caress someone, in French, for no language is tenderer than theirs; if to threaten someone or to speak harshly to them, in German, for their entire language is threatening, rough and vehement".

[upload.wikimedia.org image 500x600]
A mes chats, je parle l'Hébreu, parce que c'est la langue des dieux, et parce que c'est impossiblede les faire comprendre quoi que ce soit sans un argumentfort ergoteur, et s'ils ne veulent rien comprendre,c'est de beaucoup de soins perdus.*Charles V was the son of Juana la loca, AKA Joanna the Mad.He is the father-in-law of my 4th cousin, 14 times removed, at the moment at least.Charles V must have said something about comparative linguistics but the exact quotation seems to be lost because there are many variants. One of these is quoted by the second Captain on Sealab 2021:  "Je parle Espagnol à Dieu, Italien aux dames du Court, Français aux hommes, Allemand à mon cheval."He would not have spoken German to his horse because he thought it was a harsh, threatening language. One speaks gently and affectionaty to one's horse. German is for giving orders to soldiers and other hard of understanding underlings.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Charles_V,_Holy_Roman_Emperor


IIRC Charles the V also once conducted what was for his time a pretty sophisticated scientific experiment in linguistics.  HE was curious to see what language was the most "natural" ie what language Adam and Eve spoke in Eden.  SO he took a bunch of newborns and had them raised by people who forbidden to speak to them at all to see what language the babes would develop  without outside influences.


Of course we now know what happens when you do that to a kid:  Their brains never develop and they end up with an intellect no greater than that of a 3-year old, but hey at least he tried ....
 
2014-06-02 03:42:53 PM
You know what Whales do in water right?


EVERYTHING!


/maybe they just dont want to taste some things......
 
2014-06-02 06:31:43 PM

RexTalionis: Here's what I'm curious about:

Do whales and dolphins retain the ability to taste spiciness (i.e. capsaicin)? Capsaicin evolved in land plants as a defense mechanism against land animals and some birds because it is extremely irritating if eaten or chewed. Most sea animals aren't bothered by it because there is essentially no capsaicin in sea plants. I wonder, in the time it took the early cetecean ancestors to return to the sea, whether they've also lost the ability to be irritated by capsaicin? If they retained it, that'd be a very interesting evolutionary vestigial sense.


Yah but capsaicin isn't really a "taste" so much as a chemical that triggers and then deadens pain receptors.  This is why it's used as a topical pain killer for arthritis and other conditions.  Your skin or fingers or whathaveyou doesn't have taste buds, but you can feel it working.   SO while a dolphin may not taste spiciness, doens't mean it won't feel the burn.
 
2014-06-03 08:17:28 AM

AeAe: there's an endangered pink dolphin that lives in one of the fresh water rivers in China.


It's easy to acclimate freshwater mollies (live-bearers like guppies) to marine water. I used to put them in saltwater aquariums to get them "cycled."

/seriously, god and whales in the thread and no Noah joke?
//can't think of one
 
2014-06-03 02:32:15 PM
Evolution debates with me typically start and end with two concepts found in nature:  Traumatic Insemination and Penis Fencing.

Usually, bringing these up does one of three things:
-offends creationists to the point where they will no longer talk to me
-makes my point solidly with no good counter argument
-baffles people who have never heard of them before.

This thread also reminds me of a joke....
I was in a bar Saturday night, and had a few drinks.   I noticed two large women by the bar. They both had strong accents so I asked, "Hey, are you two ladies from Ireland?"  One of them screamed, "It's Wales you idiot!"  So, I immediately apologized and said, "Sorry, are you two whales from Ireland?" That's all I remember.

/There's got to be somewhere I can go with a joke about them only being able to taste salty....
 
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